Re: Structure v. pages (was Re: HTML+)

Richard Koman (
Thu, 15 Sep 1994 09:50:33 -0700

Date: Thu, 15 Sep 1994 09:50:33 -0700
Message-Id: <199409151650.JAA15754@rock>
To: Ryan Bernard <>
From: (Richard Koman)
Subject: Re: Structure v. pages (was Re: HTML+)

I'm really not thinking about LaTeX. I certainly don't mean to denigrate
HTML, but ... From the creator's standpoint, HTML is a relatively marginal
improvement over typesetting coding. It's easier but not intuitive. Whereas
desktop publishing was a revolutionary change in the means of
production--collapsing creation and production into a single, intuitive,
previewable, WYSIWYG experience. I think that what designers and other
visual people will expect is tools in the same ballpark.

Now Adobe has just announced plans to let Acrobat contain URLs and clicking
on one would launch Mosaic and display that document. That's halfway there.
Acrobat should be a MIME type and clicking on a link to an Acrobat document
should launch the Acrobat viewer (which will be freely available over the
net, Adobe announced Tuesday). And since Acrobat will be able to contain
URLs, this would not be a dead end but could continue the hyperlinking
process. Now we've got markup documents and structured documents coexisting
within the framework of the Web, yes?

>If these assumptions are true, why are we wasting our time downgrading the 
>small simple contributions that HTML is making to the ability to deliver 
>on-line text and graphics?  One of the beauties of HTML currently is the fact
>that you don't have to be a rocket scientist to use it (no offense to all
>you rocket scientists out there).  I think we are asking too much and failing 
>to appreciate the sea changes taking place in communications if we try to
>make HTML into something like LaTex.  Instead, we should just concentrate on
>making browsers that read LaTex and let the people who want to use that
>standard use it instead of HTML.
Richard Koman
O'Reilly & Associates
103A Morris St.
Sebastopol, CA 95472